Migration politics in Argentina: Actors, evidence and timing

Susanne Melde//Geography//18th of February 2015//3-4pm//Arts C133

Argentine Congress

Most scholarship on domestic politics of migration is limited to Europe and the US. This lecture aims to analyze the policy-making process in Argentina that led to the passing of a liberal, rights-based migration law in 2003. The findings are based on the analysis of official records and key informant interviews in 2013.

The consultative process helped achieving consensus on the new law and benefited from timing. Main interest groups lobbying for the new migration policy were not employers but human rights NGOs, which have played an important role in the democratic transition after the dictatorship (1976-83). The evidence-based policy was also driven by the migration reality at the time: large numbers of irregular immigrants from the region and at the same time high emigration rates of Argentines after the 2001 crisis, making it one of the few policies focusing on immigration and emigration. The results show that existing theoretical approaches on domestic migration politics in Western liberal democracies can only partly explain the case of Argentina.


Susanne Melde is a part-time PhD candidate in Migration Studies at the University of Sussex. She graduated with an MA in Human Rights from Sussex and studied in Dresden, Germany, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since 2007 she has worked on and led different research projects at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva and Brussels, including on South-South migration and the impacts of migration on adaptation strategies to environmental and climate change.

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